When people around the world suddenly found themselves stuck at home this spring, my social media feeds mysteriously began filling with images of homemade bread. Are you one of the people who jumped on the sourdough-baking bandwagon while in quarantine? If so, you’ve got a great tangible example for this week’s sermon!
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
(Please remember to be sensitive to those who cannot eat bread or flour – this parable is obviously not the exclusive way in which the kin-dom of God is made known.)
Of course, in this pandemic time, we can think of other things that start out small and spread quickly through a large group. It only takes one infected, asymptomatic person to attend an event, and the whole population may end up with the virus. The parable of the leaven can be a warning as well as an inspiration for us.
Perhaps one of the other brief parables is speaking to you this week. It your community seeking a pearl of great price? Are you planting mustard seeds? What do you find most meaningful in the Gospel lesson.
As ever, the Revised Common Lectionary offers a wealth of preaching choices. In Genesis 29, we find someone who is held up as a role model of faith bartering for ownership of women. How is this good news for us today? How can we interpret this story in a life-giving way when we know that there are still people bartering for others’ bodies, against their will? If you’re interested in learning more about human trafficking, the UN website has lots of good info.
In 1 Kings 3, we find Solomon asking God for the wisdom to discern between good and evil. If only all our leaders prioritized wisdom and discernment over advancement of their own goals! As a faith leader, how do you listen for God’s wisdom? How do your people take time to intentionally hear the gentle nudgings of God? What can we learn from Solomon’s example?
Romans 8 practically preaches itself, especially when read in light of the pandemic. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will virus, or social distance, or face masks, or handwashing? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us! There is the tricky balance between preaching that these things cannot separate us from God, and implying that they are irrelevant. Many Christians are claiming that since God is more powerful than any virus, it is unfaithful to wear a mask and wash hands and social distance. Please, preachers, walk this line carefully and encourage your people to be safe!
Whichever text is your focus this week, blessings on your preaching and worship prep. I’m sure your message will be received at least as well as Jesus’ parables, to which the disciples responded: “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.”
Katya Ouchakof is a hospital chaplain and paddlesports professional in Madison, WI (USA). Katya has not jumped on the sourdough bandwagon, but will gladly enjoy some of yours! She posts daily inspiration at revkatyawrites.com.
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2 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Have You Understood?”
I don’t think any of us have understood which is the focus of my reflections this week. If anyone is still in need of a sermon on the Matthew text, this might be helpful https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/rethinking-the-kingdom/
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